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Higher educational attainment does not improve chances of happiness

by Ion Gireada on 27 March 2015
Health, Lifestyle     |      Afro-Caribbean,  educational attainment,  Indian,  life happiness,  Pakistani

With added education come more opportunities for bigger earnings, but highly educated people are not a lot happier than those with low educational attainment, a new study found.

Even though a good education brings material and financial abundance, it does not improve your life chances of happiness.

“These findings are quite controversial because we expected to find the socioeconomic factors that are associated with mental illness would also be correlated with mental wellbeing,” said lead author Sarah Stewart-Brown, professor at University of Warwick in Britain.

“So if low educational attainment was strongly associated with mental illness, high educational attainment would be strongly connected to mental well-being. But that is not the case,” Stewart-Brown added.

Scientists analyzed socio-economic factors related to high mental wellbeing, such as level of education and personal finances. While low educational attainment is strongly associated with mental illness, researchers wanted to find out whether higher educational attainment correlates with mental wellbeing.

Researchers found all levels of educational attainment had similar odds of high mental well-being.

A high level of mental wellbeing was defined as “feeling good and functioning well”. People with high levels of mental wellbeing manage to feel happy and contented with their lives more often than those who do not, the researchers observed.

However, surprising results in the study included high levels of mental wellbeing among Afro-Caribbeans, especially men.

“We were very surprised to find substantially increased odds of high mental well-being among minority ethnic groups, particularly African and African-Caribbean, Indian and Pakistani groups,” Stewart-Brown said.

For the study, scientists used existing data from the Health Survey for England (HSE) for 2010 and 2011, and involved 17,030 survey participants across both years.

The findings were published in the British Journal of Psychiatry.

Higher educational attainment does not improve chances of happiness

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